Kit: Zimo MX644C, YouChoos IceCube28x18x8-2W, 550uF Stay-Alive
Dapol seem to be enjoying adding more lighting control to their models these days, but it doesn't always make it easy for DCC
installation as many of the commonly-available 21pin DCC decoders do not provide control of every function out-of-the-box. Here
we discover one solution which involves a minor rewire and the use of the more common MX644C/D sound decoder.
The body simply clips off - easiest with finger-nails - nice and simple, but secure clips. Inside is revealed a very neat
layout with the 21pin DCC decoder socket hidden beneath a plastic box. Pop the box off and remove the blanking plate.
A quick test on DCC using a standard Zimo MX634D decoder reveals good motor control, and correct lighting control of head/tail
lights and the cab lights, which are on independent functions. However, the interior lighting is permanently on, with no way to
switch off on DCC. This is to do with not having completely standard MTC-compliant voltages on the higher AUX outputs of these
decoders (other supposedly MTC-compliant decoders might work OK, but no guarantee).
The space provided is perfect for a Zimo MX644C (or MX644D) sound decoder as shown below.
Remove the 4 screws retaining the seating and an unusual 20mm round speaker enclosure/mount is discovered. This is a very odd
choice from Dapol, and I personally wouldn't even consider this size/shape speaker, so we'll look for a better solution!
Instead, solder up a YouChoos IceCube 28x18x08-2W speaker using the tiny contact pads marked 'LS' - a bit fiddly as the pads
are especially small.
To get around the lack of DCC control of the interior lighting, we have to avoid AUX5/FA3 and AUX6/FA4 altogether, and use the
next available output from the decoder (AUX7/FA5). This output gives us full power rather than a logic-level output, and avoids
going near any circuitry that Dapol might have from the other outputs. Therefore we solder a bridge wire from the AUX7/FA5 pin
directly to the output from the interior lighting switch, and ensure that the switch is set to the OFF position so that only
the decoder will then control that output.
Add grey and blue wires to the MX644's stay-alive pads and slot the wires through the hole, replacing the seating.
File a small groove in the decoder cover for the wires to pass through.
Stick the speaker and capacitors (we happened to have a couple of 25V caps sitting around that fit in nicely) on top of the
decoder box using something fairly thin as there isn't much vertical space available. Hide the speaker and cap under some black
electrical tape to avoid short-circuits and to make it less visible through the windows - it is almost hidden anyway, but not
quite through the windows!
Pop the body back on and test that the electrical contacts for the roof circuit are working OK. The decoder will need
configuring to have a function key to control AUX7/FA5, but this is straight-forward enough - if you order the decoder from
YouChoos, tell us when you order and we can remap it from the start.
Kit: MX644C; SugarCube24X15X08; LifeLink with 17000uF SuperCap
Another example, similar approach, but slightly smaller (but still excellent) speaker, in order to squeeze in a SuperCap for
Speaker wires go on...
Decoder goes in (grey and blue wires for stay-alive)...
Create gap in the side of the housing for the 4 wires to come through...
Connect spekaer and SuperCap (via LifeLink) up, protect with Kapton, and attach to housing (we used thin double-sided tape).